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My name is Cara and I am a book lover through and through! I'm a Press and Marketing Assistant at Titan Books, I read, review, blog and am a published alt model. I also review for We Love This Book, Things and Ink and Starburst Magazine. Contact me if you would like a proof read and reviewed at thetattooedbook@yahoo.co.uk or follow me on twitter at twitter.com/thetattooedbook

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer



Otto Laird lives a peaceful existence in Sweden with his second wife, only disturbed by his ill health and failing memory.
When he receives news that one of his finest architectural accomplishments, Marlowe House in London is set to be demolished he decides to sit back no more. He makes a few phone calls, re-acquaints himself with some old contacts and starts the ball rolling for an appeal on the buildings destruction.
When he's informed that the best chance of saving the 1960's development is to participate in a documentary on the building and it's inhabitants Otto isn't so sure. The London area is well known for crime, would it be safe? Is he even well enough to travel after his last operation? In the end he decides he must do everything he can to save the building so against his wife's wishes he heads back to the London streets he used to call home, to live inside one of his greatest creations. But what will he find when he gets there and is it really just the building he wishes to re-visit?

When you first feet Otto you cannot help but see him as a frail old man, losing grip of what made him famous, what made him unique. As you speed through the pages (and you will) you unravel his complex and touching story to realise he his far from this and is a man rich in history, love and passion for life. Due to it's main character being an older gentleman I am sure this will draw comparisons to The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but Otto really deserves to be appreciated in his own right. The descriptions of his darkened childhood, living hidden from Nazi persecution in a family friends cellar is enough in itself to make a fascinating read but to layer that with the years that lead from that to his retirement make it utterly captivating. This novel really will have you on the verge of tears one moment and laughing out loud the next, the storyline concerning his previous wife is especially moving and handled with great care. Overall The Restoration of Otto Laird is a joy to read and is sure to warm hearts across the UK and beyond.




Buy The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer from Amazon here.



Monday, 19 January 2015

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis



As Millie sits among the giant, military style bras in the busy department store she reads through her Book of Dead Things and thinks back on how she could have made her Mother's life easier. Things have been different since her Dad died but that was ok, Millie would make things better, as soon as her Mum came back for her. Even as the store closes and the underwear section is plunged into darkness she continues hiding, knowing her Mother will come back for her at any moment.

Karl has been alone since his wife died and feeling like a burden under his son's roof he chooses to move into a retirement home. It doesn't take him long to realise the terrible mistake he's made, he has a million things to achieve before he belongs in a place like that. He leaves as quickly as he can and ends up at the department store.

When Agatha's husband passed away she replaced him with routine and anger. She never leaves the house, shouting insults at passersby and carries out her strict daily routine of measuring wrinkles and wobbly bits. Then one day she sees the neighbour's little girl return to her home across the road all alone and she knows something is terribly wrong.


A handful of pages into Lost and Found and Millie had totally stolen my heart. She's an innocent little girl with a fascination with death that turns even darker with her Father's passing. Her youth and bubbliness keep her away from 'Goth' territory but people are unnerved by her all the same. As a reader this misunderstanding just makes you love her even more, to the point where I was quite disappointed to move onto the other two main characters.

Agatha and Karl have both lost their partners but have survived in very different ways. Karl is desperate to experience new things and push himself, whereas Agatha is stuck in her ways and believes she's happiest closeted inside her routines. As they team up to help Millie they can't help but clash.

What unites this threesome of weird and wonderful characters is loss and regret. Young or old, they are all haunted by death and the mistakes they feel they have made in the past. Saying that this book is not a glum pondering tale but a fast, funny and touching romp. Lost and Found is sure to appeal to readers of Rachel Joyce and deserves to be just as popular. I'll keep my fingers crossed that we might see more of Millie in the future.




Buy Lost and Found by Brooke Davis from Amazon here.












Monday, 12 January 2015

A Look Ahead To 2015

2015_2

2015 is already shaping up to be a damn fine looking year in the world of books, so I thought it might be worth taking a wander through the ones I adore and the ones I can't wait to get my mitts on.


Published 15/01/2015

This great thriller is already tipped to be a massive hit and after reading it late last year I can say it is well deserved.
Rachel gets a glimpse into the perfect couple's life as her train pauses outside their home almost every day. One morning she glimpses something that breaks the perfect image, it looks like the wife's cheating. She mulls the deception over and before she knows it she's on their street and the wife is missing.



Published 15/01/2015

This is a title I heard a small extract from at a Picador event a long time ago. If I remember right, it was a pretty graphic description of breaking bones...it's been on my wish list ever since.


Published 29/01/2015

This is one of the numerous books that I saw mentioned on Twitter and decided to investigate. I'm glad I did as it has an incredible lead in Millie. A seven year old girl with an obsession for death who is abandoned my her mother in a department store.



 Published 27/03/2015

I leapt at the chance to read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab after seeing so many fabulous reviews of her previous novel, Vicious. Schwab introduces us to Kell, a blood magician and one of the very last people who can travel to the four different Londons. Red London where skills in magic are highly regarded, Grey London, dark and dirty and without magic and White London, a violent land where anyone can murder their way to the top. Then there was a Black London, the city destroyed by magic...or is it?


Published 05/03/2015

If you'd have asked me a year ago if I was interested in reading a book about depression, it would have been a very quick 'no thank you' but after reading his fiction I think Matt Haig will make this an enjoyable and touching read.  


TV COMEDIAN BY STEWART LEE  - 05/03/2015

In my little world Stewart Lee is one of the gods of comedy, so I know nothing about this book at all but I'm still looking forward to it.


Published 26/03/2015

Discovering Sarah Hall was one of my literary highlights of 2014. Set in the Lake District and following one woman's attempts to reintroduce the Grey Wolf back into England, this novel is set to be one of her best yet.


23/04/2015

Following up from Tigers in Red Weather comes Liza Klaussmann's second novel, Villa America.
Gerald and Sarah Murphy live a luxurious life of parties, style and art but when a stranger inserts themselves into that life, everything changes.


Published 23/04/2015 

There is usually one celebrity autobiography a year that grabs my attention and this is my choice for 2015. I grew up loving Blink 182, Boxcar Racer, +44 and still listen to The Transplants all the time but apart from his fascinating musical life Travis Barker's a hugely successful business owner (Famous Stars and Straps) and survived a terrible plane crash. I am sure he's got a lot of stories to tell and I for one am looking forward to reading them.



 Published 07/05/2015

When I first saw this cover online I just had to investigate, it's stunning! After reading the brief blurb I instantly added it to my wish list.
 North survives the sea flooded Earth on a circus boat, dancing with her beloved bear. She and the crew travel to the few and far between islands, trading their acts for food.
During a storm, North meet Callanish, a gracekeeper who tends the graves of those who die at sea and that chance meeting changes both their lives forever.



Published 07/05/2015 

A God in Ruins is the eagerly (to put it lightly) anticipated follow-up novel to Kate Atkinson's award winning, Life After Life. This book follows Ursular's brother Teddy from wannabe poet, to RAF pilot and beyond. I have a feeling this is going to break my heart just as much as Life After Life and I can't wait.



 Published 02/06/2015

I have already mentioned this re-release of Roman Dirge's The Cat With a Really Big Head in a previous post but this graphic novel has such a place in my heart I needed to mention it in this round-up. It's dark, funny, utterly gorgeous and has the sickest twist at the end.



Published 04/06/2015 

Tanya Byrne is simply one of my favourite YA authors, so I can't help but look forward to For Holly.
Lola Durrand's life is a mess. Her Mother's dead, her Father's re-married and she's been forced to move to France. Struggling to come to terms with grief and desperate for her Father's help she sets out to expose her stepmother for what she truly is.



02/07/2015

This year sees the release of Last Act of Love by one of the loveliest ladies of the book world that is Cathy Rentzenbrink. This memoir concentrates on her families experiences after her sixteen year-old brother was knocked down by a car and left in a permanent vegetative state. Described as “incredibly devastating” by Picador's Francesca Main this book is set to be as raw as it is moving.


Published 02/07/2015

Way Down Dark is the first novel in The Australia series from James Smythe's and his debut for YA readers. After loving all his adult work, I cannot wait for this! 
The Australia abandoned a dying Earth and a it's colonists searched the universe for another planet to call home. Nothing suitable was ever found. As the humans aboard the ship fight for resources law and order breaks down. Soon The Australia becomes a ship rife with crime and gang wars. Amongst the chaos, Chan keeps herself to herself and gets on with everyday life but when she discovers a way to return to Earth she has no idea who to turn to.



Published 16/07/2015

Ready Player One has become a cult gamer novel since it's UK release back in 2011. I have only just seen the blurb for his long awaited follow-up so here it is:


Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school's courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he's sure he's still dreaming.

But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he's been playing obsessively for years isn't just a game; it's part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they'll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he'll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he's been thrown into.




There you go, those are my hot picks for 2015. I am sure there will be numerous books released this year that capture my heart but these are just a few. If you think I've missed something amazing, let me know!















Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Cat is Back!



Go back about twelve years and you would have found a version of me that was a lot less tattooed, wore a lot more eyeliner and spent far too much time in skate parks. A lot has changed since then, people would start worrying about their kids if I hung around in skate parks that much anymore, even if I do still like watching BMX. But one thing that hasn't changed is my love for Roman Dirge's work.



The original publishing of The Cat With a Really Big Head by Roman Dirge was the first full comic book I ever read and when I turned the final page I was hooked (not counting strips in The Face magazine). From him I went to Jhonen Vasquez, to Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin, from there I've never stopped reading reading and loving graphic novels.

To hear Titan Comics will be re-issuing The Cat With a Really Big Head and Monsters in my Tummy in one gorgeous hardback book is not only awesome news for a whole new generation of readers but for Roman Dirge's legions of fans who can't get enough of him. I'm extra psyched as I even get to work with it in my new role at Titan Books, so DM me on Twitter if this twisted gorgeousness appeals to you, like it does to me.



Check out Roman Dirge's other work here.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

After Me Comes The Flood by Sarah Perry



One day John Cole wakes up after a snooze in his bookshop's armchair and he just feels wrong. He locks up the shop, knowing no one would miss him and heads off to stay with  his brother.

On the way his car breaks down and he ends up wandering up to  the entrance of a beautiful country house. There he's welcomed as if he's expected, the strange residents even know his name and a room awaits him.

Is this where he's always belonged?


After Me Comes The Flood is written beautifully and the picturesque descriptions of the fairytale like cottage are as vivid as a painting. There are moments in conversation, mainly between John and the woman he falls in love with that are genuinely moving. Yet after saying all that I must admit I became quite bored after the first fifty pages. Once the novelty of the writing style wore off I found myself skim reading, trying to find a storyline I could lose myself in. Overall I was left a little disappointed by interesting characters that I just wanted more from.


Buy After Me Comes The Flood by Sarah Perry from Amazon here












Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Books of the Year 2014

So there it goes, another year gone (please insert your own whimsical phrase on time gone by and being another year older etc). Here's my round up of the best books I've read this year, whether it be a classic or brand new from a debut author these are simply the books that made my year brighter.


Fiction Books of the Year

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

 Bird Box

A creature walks the streets but to see it only means it's too late. Anyone that views it is driven to suicide and as time passes the only survivors are the people who learn to live without sight. One woman has found a home and managed to raise her children but the time has come when she needs to move on, to blindfold her children and lead them to a better future.
Bird Box is disturbing, twisted and claustrophobic as hell, everyone should read it.


Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

 Annihilation - The Southern Reach Trilogy

Eleven troops have failed in their mission to fully explore Area X. Some simply disappeared, others killed themselves and the last all succumbed to terminal cancer. When the biologist gets her chance to enter Area X as part of troop twelve she agrees, determined to find out what happened to her husband on the eleventh expedition.
Giant holes in the ground with living walls, unseen creatures and a million secrets are just the beginning of what makes this novel so great. Literary science fiction at it's best.


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

 Station Eleven

When the Georgian Flu broke out it killed ninety nine percent of the people it infected and twenty years later the world is a different place. Station Eleven follows the Travelling Symphony, a group of actors a musicians that travel the safer parts of what is left of America. This is an intelligent, beautifully written and tender tale of survival in a new and brutal world.


Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall

The Electric Michelangelo

This is novel I'd been meaning to pick up for years and when I finished reading it to review in Things and Ink Magazine I was left quite shell shocked.
Cy grows up in the seaside town of Morcambe Bay, helping his mother run a small bed and breakfast that's mainly frequently by tuberculosis sufferers looking to clear their lungs with sea air. One day he stumbles across a man called Eliot Riley and years later he offers Cy a tattooing apprenticeship. He's unsure of the offer, knowing full well the stigma behind tattooing and working with Eliot but once he gets a taste of the life, he's smitten.
Sarah Hall has stolen my heart this year with her incredible writing. This book is full of characters that become so vivid in your mind that their brutal life stories almost bring you to tears. Months and months after finishing it and I can still picture the characters and recall how I felt when I had to put the book down to catch my breath, simply incredible.


A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin

 A Slight Trick of the Mind

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading A Slight Trick of the Mind, all I knew was that it featured Sherlock Holmes at ninety three years old. The book does include an investigation from his younger days but this is almost secondary to the ageing Sherlock himself. His famous memory is fading and he's losing what made him special, making this beautiful yet devastating reading.


The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

 The Museum of Extraordinary Things

In the early 1900s Coney Island was the home of American family entertainment. Coralie grew up surrounded by the rides, freak shows and tattooists that line the streets but her father kept her hidden away from it within the confines of his infamous establishment, The Museum of Extraordinary Things. With her webbed feet her father made her swim from a very early age and as soon as he deemed her old enough, let her become an exhibit in his museum. One night while swimming in the Hudson she stumbles across a body and she's appalled to witness her father take the young girl to use as an exhibit. She'd doubted his ethics before but now she knows he's crossed a line.



The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt

The Dynamite Room

In the summer of 1940 Lydia runs away from the home she was sent to as a refugee. When she makes it back to her village home she finds the local shops closed and the streets deserted. Unsure of what to make of the ghost town she rushes home to find her mother. She finds the house as empty as the streets and decides to wait until someone returns but the man who soon enters her home is a complete stranger.



Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

 Frog Music

When Blanche and Jenny meet on the streets of San Francisco in 1876 they couldn't be more different. Blanche dances burlesque, occasionally entertaining her biggest fans in private and Jenny is a brash mouthed, drinking and smoking girl who dresses like a man. Their unique relationship grows and one night a gunshot rings out, barely missing them but who was the intended victim and who pulled the trigger?



All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

All the Birds, Singing

We meet Jake as she struggles against the elements to care for the land and sheep that she's acquired with her new rural British home. When a number of her sheep are murdered and she comes across a man sleeping rough in one of her sheds she can't help but wonder if she's managed out outrun the past she left in Australia or not.



The Three by Sarah Lotz

 The Three

When four planes crash at the same time the world presumes that it's an act of terrorism but no evidence comes to light and not a single group claims responsibility. As people struggle to understand the tragedy it becomes clear that for three of the flights there was a survivor, all three of them young children. At first people deem it a miracle but soon answerphone messages left by the deceased during their decent come to light. One of these messages turns a nation against the children:
" They're here ... The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there's so many ... They're coming for me now. We're all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he's not to--"



Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

Black Moon

At first the reports of sleeplessness crept across the country like an urban legend but soon the epidemic was worldwide. Society crumbles as people are incapable of working, start hallucinating and turning on the few people who are still able to sleep. Matt's one of these few and he's managed to keep his girlfriend alive, restraining her in their flat, saving her from herself and the chaos in the streets outside but when she escapes he's forced to face an entirely new world.




Graphic Novel of the Year

Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

 Sex Criminals: volume 1

Sex Criminals was one of my unexpected loves of the year. After reading the short blurb on how a girl stops time when she orgasms I thought I'd give it a go on Net Galley. I was expecting a fun but slightly cheesy story but what I got was a smart, funny, book loving female protagonist, a lovable geeky romance, Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen and a robin hood crime with a twist in the tale.




Non Fiction Book of the Year

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

Everyday Sexism

Everyday Sexism is the kind of book that leaves you feverishly wanting to push it into people's hands and it kicked off a lot of conversations between me, my partner, friends and even my Mum on their experiences or thoughts on the subject. I'm sure a huge percentage of women can relate to a number of subjects such as gender stereotyping at a early age or media influence but it also looks into issues that may not be so obvious. These include women's rights in the world of politics and how easily accessible hardcore porn is impacting on girls in the classrooms and female teachers. If you've been interested in reading about sexism but haven't quite known where to start, this is it!



Novella of the Year

Mrs Fox by Sarah Hall

 Mrs Fox

Yes, a second appearance for Sarah Hall but you can't blame me because Mrs Fox is a thing of beauty. Most people's complaint about short stories is that they simply can't get lost in them the way they can with a full novel. This cannot be said for Mrs Fox. You follow a husband as he watches his beloved wife turn from lady to fox and the journey he goes through to let her go.




Poetry Book of the Year

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

Hold Your Own

I should probably start off by saying I know absolutely nothing about poetry but after being lucky enough to hear Kate Tempest do some live readings at an incredible Picador event I was instantly smitten. If you get a chance to see her live, go, even if you have to beg, borrow or steal. He words are achingly honest and these poems have gotten under my skin like no others before.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Bleed 03




In late 2012 I had a beautiful piece of work drop through my letterbox that went on to become one of my favourite reads of the year, this was The Bleed 02. The Bleed brings together writers, photographers, designers and illustrators to create a truly unique reading experience.

An anonymous actor, a man hired to watch him, a narrator and the man that watches over them all, Daniel.

The first chapter of The Bleed 03 throws us headfirst into the telephone conversation where the actor agrees to be Daniel, to play him as a role and attend a meeting with unnamed investors for a business opportunity that could change both their lives for ever. As the actor's real life fades into the background, the role of a lifetime takes over. Soon the lines are blurred and he can't be sure anything is what it seems. He goes to the narrator, desperate for someone to tell his tale but even this author is unsure if he is being told the whole truth.

This magazine is once again a thing of beauty to flick through and the first few pages of story are just as mesmerising. The Bleed 03 is full of twists, turns, misdirections, secrets and lies. By the end of it you won't know what's real for the characters or what's fantasy but this ambiguity is used in such a powerful way it keeps you completely hooked. I stormed through it in one morning and as soon as I finished I just wanted to start again to see what I might have missed the first time around. Just as enjoyable as The Bleed 02, The Bleed 03 has proved to be an incredible piece of work and I look forward to reading more from it's contributors in the future.



Read The Bleed online here.

For more information of The Bleed check out their website